Due to Thanksgiving quickly leading to Christmas and then to New Year’s, this time of year is usually an extensive stretch of festive gatherings with loved ones. Even though all the planning and traveling can be stressful, this stretch of time enjoying the holidays can make people have a sense of loss when they come to an end. They find themselves experiencing some post-holiday blues.
The “intense level of holiday activity” can bring on a sense of loss after the holidays are over. According to Baylor Scott & White’s clinical psychologist, Dr. Kenleigh McMinn, this type of feeling can affect both children and adults. McMinn stated, “The holidays are something that we look forward to… when we come to the other side of it, it can feel like a letdown.”
It is interesting to know and understand how the brain works regarding memories and emotions. When holidays are over, and your friends and family go back to their homes, and everybody resumes their normal lives, the memories of the holidays can trigger an emotion, according to Psychology Today.
“Our brains store memories in neural networks – connections of related events or categories of information. One of the most powerful triggers to open a network of memory is emotion,” Psychology Today explains.
The loss of being around loved ones can cause the post-holiday blues. Other factors affecting these feelings come from the amount of alcohol, sugar, and overall exhaustion consumed during the stretch of festivities.
To remedy the blues when January comes, experts advise to take a step back and realize “that this mood of loss is really an adjustment to less stimulation.” Instead of texting friends and family, call them. Also, getting out of the house can help.
CBS DFW reported that McMinn shared, “I think something that’s important is just making sure you’re continuing to have plans that you’re looking forward to…” The plan does not have to be excessive, cost a lot, or even be that time-consuming. Making the plan and sticking to it will be something to look forward to.
Engage in activities you enjoy, such as cooking, exercising, or hobbies. McMinn stated, “Make sure the activities are feasible to actually implement into your routine.” Plan date nights and remember that self-care is important.
According to Psycom, research consultant and psychologist Dr. Melissa Weinberg stated, “It’s just one of a series of illusions our brain fools us into believing, in the same way, we think bad things are more likely to happen to others than they are to us. Somewhat ironically, the capacity to fool ourselves every single day is an indication of good mental and psychological functioning.”